TOUCHED by the plight of children orphaned by various diseases as well as others living under difficult circumstances from Mbambi village in the Kavango West region, renowned Chief Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, Salome Kambala decided to put into practice what she learned from her role model, Mother Teresa and established Mbambi Investments Orphanage.
Through the orphanage that was established in 2014, Kambala has taken in 17 children aged between four and 18 from the village, where she was born and raised, and placed them at various schools to give them a chance to have a positive future, all from her pocket.
Just like Mother Teresa, Kambala also believes that children no matter dirty, hungry, poor and confused; they too have dreams thus it is up to society to help them realize their dreams.
With the help of her biological children, Kambala provides the children with everyday needs as well as social and spiritual care. On holidays, they join her family at her homes in Windhoek and Onyaanya in the Oshikoto region.
Speaking to Confidente this week, Kambala said that she believes in making a mark in any environment that she finds herself. The mother of four girls, said that one does not have to be in an executive position in Government to make a difference. She believes, any contribution will register among communities.
“Someone asked me a question where I work, why I speak with confidence as if I carry a mandate and I said that, if I was employed as a cleaner in government offices, I will advocate and speak about hygiene. This is because bacteria carrying flu attacks, all people inclusive of those in high and lower positions. If I was employed as a driver at government garage, I will advocate road safety because accidents kill everybody.
She continues: “I do not believe that everything should be done by government. Citizens must meet government half way. It is not wrong to speak out on good things that are building the nation. I am a Namibian by birth and that mandated me already to be proud of who I am as a mother, wife and communication expert in my own right.
“Children need to know the joy and peace the world gives. To help them by each step needed in the development of their relationship with God the creator in their daily life. To guide and protect them to be good citizens of Namibia and the world at large.”
She added that although finances prove to be a challenge, all children are catered for owing to her careful planning.
“I made a vow to myself and to God to see them through primary school to tertiary institutions. Once they graduate and are self-reliant, I want them to continue with the orphanage.
If I could do it for them, they should be able to do it of the next child in need. At the moment, they are all doing well in school. It makes me happy for as long as they are studying.”
Kambala is well-known for her selflessness dating back to a pre-independent Namibia. At the tender age of 14 in 1975, she and two others crossed the dangerous Kavango River on a canoe to join masses of Namibians fighting for freedom in exile.
Led by the “revolutionary spirit”, Kambala left her home country, together with her family and friends in Katima Mulilo, to fight for her country’s independence from c o l o n i a l forces.
“At such a young age, we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. Many a times we heard about Swapo and what Swapo was doing in exile to free Namibia from the enemy. The enemy that was controlling every aspect of our country and killing our people. We wanted to help Swapo so that one day we would live in peace,” Kambala said.
After days of long walks, Kambala and her friends arrived in Ondjiva, a town in southern Angola where they joined other Namibians determined to free their motherland.
At Swapo’s various camps in Angola and Zambia, Kambala was trained to become a soldier although she never fought at the front. “We were trained day and night. Our trainers prepared us physically and emotionally. It was a tough exercise that prepared us for any situation. As young as we were, we had to catch up with our older comrades. And this we did because of one aim, which was freedom,” she said.
Kambala adds that being in exile was no walk in the park as she also observed the bitter civil war between rebels of UNITA, MPLA, and FNLA.
However, Kambala says Founding President, Sam Nujoma gave a directive to allow the young to go for studies.
“We travelled to DRC in huge trucks and stayed there for about six months before we were sent to Zambia to study. As much as we welcomed the idea of studying, we wanted to be soldiers that would fight the enemy. Sadly and perhaps fortunately, things turned out differently for me and many others who returned to an i n d e p e n d e n t N a m i b i a . Others were not so fortunate to come back h o m e , ” Kamb a l a said.
It was in Zambia, w h e r e K a m b a l a witnessed her fellow comrade’s die after their camp was attacked and also the same place that she received training as a radio presenter that later saw her work for the Voice of Namibia.
“I sensitised people through radio about Swapo and all its activities. I excelled in that area so I and 14 others were sent to the UK, Birmingham to study English. I later returned to Angola and continued working for the Voice of Namibia.”
But what kept her going through the difficult times while in exile; Kambala says was the difficult situation she was faced with.
“I believed that I was created for a purpose. Through the tough experience, I emerged a strong person and woman. I had seen many of my fellow comrades die but I knew I had to continue fighting for what we all wanted and that was peace.” In an independent Namibia, Kambala formed part of a team that transformed SWABC to the national broadcaster, NBC. She later worked as Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Health and Social Services before joining the Ministry of Home Affairs .
She holds Government’s Best Public R e l a t i o n s Officer award for 2014.
K amb a l a says that life has taught her to believe in God and to have faith in him. “With God on your side, you can achieve anything and everything that you put your mind to. Whatever you think of, visualise it, believe in it and put it into action.”
Kambala also advises fellow women to encourage young girls that they can achieve their goals and do not need men as is the situation in today’s society.
“As women and mothers, we should speak with love to our children. We should pamper them with love and it is that love that they will know and share with the community and eventually their country.
We need to play the role of educators and direct them. Where there is love there is no violence.”
Kambala concludes that when she is not busy at the office, she goes to the gym as well as church. “Otherwise I stay at home and spend quality time with my children and my husband who is my advisor and comforter.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015